• Christina McAnea, Unison: "This coalition government has taken a scalpel to the pay body’s report and won’t escape the anger of NHS staff. It’s a disgrace that 70% of nurses will not even get a pay rise this year."
• Frances O’Grady, TUC: "Ministers’ message to Britain’s young people is that they should not seek a career in health, education or other public services if they want a decent standard of living or to work for an employer who values them."
• Peter Carter, Royal College of Nursing: "What the NHS cannot afford to do is continue a policy of treating hardworking and loyal staff with contempt, at a time when morale is at an all-time low and trusts around the country struggle to retain and recruit enough nurses to maintain safe staffing levels."
• Rehana Azam, GMB: "GMB members across the country will take the blocking of a full 1% pay rise as a personal insult. GMB members will not stand aside whilst the government makes such direct attacks on their pay and conditions. GMB will immediately begin making arrangements to consult members who will be asked to vote in a consultative ballot to decide the next steps in this dispute."
• Rachael Maskell, Unite: "It is despicable that Hunt has adopted such an underhand tactic. ... We will be consulting with our members about the possibility of industrial action."
• Dave Prentis, Unison: "This wretched government has treated the NHS, our members and patients with contempt."
'A wall chart in a Grantham job centre explicitly sets out the cash savings available to the Department for Work and Pensions through stopping the benefits of claimants, ranging from £227.20 a week for a four-week sanction to £3,728 for a sanction lasting one year.'
'Ministers have denied links between welfare reforms and the170% increase in emergency handouts in 2013. But a study by Policy Exchange, created by Tory ministers Michael Gove and Francis Maude, today says so-called benefit “sanctions” are leaving claimants too poor to buy food.'
'What we thought we were hearing in the "big society" language was an affirmation of our role and an assurance that there was the political will nationally to supply the relatively small amounts of soft money needed to sustain it. In practice, the financial squeeze on local authorities, through whom much of the money was channelled, has decimated or destroyed many services.' Archbishop David Ward